â€œSocial Security is probably the most effective social program that has ever been enacted by the Congress of the United States,â€ said Kaine, addressing more than 100 seniors at Greenspring Retirement Village in Springfield. â€œI will fight against any effort to privatize Social Security if I am in the Senate because the program has worked.â€
Kaine is locked in a tight race with likely GOP nominee George Allen to succeed the retiring Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat.
Kaine expressed his strong opposition to “risky” privatization schemes and cost-shifting plans like the budget proposed by Republican Congressman Paul Ryan. Instead, he advocated what he said were common sense ways to strengthen Social Security and reduce Medicare spending, like allowing for the negotiation of prescription drug prices.
â€œLetâ€™s fight for reforms that actually save costs, not just shift them onto the shoulders of seniors,â€ said Kaine. â€œIâ€™ll always be open to finding better ways to do things and better ways to save costs. Thatâ€™s what I had to do as Governor in a terrible recession, but I know the difference between ways that strengthen our programs and those that push the burden onto seniors.â€
Following his remarks, Kaine took questions from the audience for nearly an hour. Topics included campaign finance reform, his views on foreign policy, ways to break through Washingtonâ€™s gridlock, and responsibly reduce the federal deficit.
Kaine contrasted his support for a balanced approach of revenues and cuts to reduce our deficit, with the “all cuts” approach he said his opponents advocate, which he said could cost Virginia jobs, hurt the economy, and jeopardize important programs that support millions of Americans.
Todayâ€™s event was the latest in a two week tour to discuss retirement security and other issues of importance to older Americans.